Saturday, February 4, 2012
The Simple Joy Of Taking An Overnight Nearby "Comfort Suites Downtown" (Buffalo)!
The Good: Room size, Breakfast, Amenities, "Feel."
The Bad: Price, Parking situation
The Basics: Despite the price, the Comfort Suites Downtown is a great location for a getaway.
Every now and then, my curiosity gets the better of me and I decide it's time to poke my head up in my immediate area as opposed to evaluating accommodations so far from home that it seems to impress people that I got there. To date, my only experiences with the Comfort Suites segment of the Choice Hotels chain - which I am a loyal patron of - were in San Diego (reviewed here!) and in El Paso, Texas. So far, I've been generally impressed with them; the one in San Diego is my only perfect-rated hotel review thus far! In considering how much I travel, it occurred to me that I might be a little more liberal with hotel reviews based on sheer exhaustion. After all, how attentive to details am I truly after driving for eighteen hours? So, as a litmus test, I decided to drive down the Thruway three hours to Buffalo for an overnight to see how a hotel there was.
I stayed at the Comfort Suites Downtown, in Buffalo, New York. This was a six-story nondescript brick building smack in the middle of downtown Buffalo.
The Comfort Suites Downtown (NY200 in the Choice numbering system) is located at 601 Main Street, Buffalo, New York. There is a tiny parking lot beside the hotel for patrons when they check in, but parking for the hotel is actually two blocks away in a parking garage. 601 Main Street is easy enough to find from the Thruway and adjacent expressways (MapQuest directions were surprisingly accurate for a change!).
The only notable aspects of the location is that the sign for the Comfort Suites is not the largest in the world, there is a TGI Friday's in the ground level of the same building and virtually nothing else of note nearby. The neighborhood is not bad, but it certainly is lacking in any attractions or genuine appeal.
Check-in was quite easy and that was when I was informed about the parking situation. The parking garage is two blocks away and has a separate area on the ground floor for patrons of the Comfort Suites. This is not usually a big deal for me (I didn't have much to bring into or out of my hotel room), save that when I booked the reservation, I had noted the website said "free on-site handicapped parking," which led me to ask about non-handicapped parking, which I was assured was at the hotel. This shouldn't be an issue for young, fit people. It's not a bad walk . . . even in the rain.
It frequently rains in Buffalo.
Any trepidation I had over the parking situation evaporated when I got into my room. I booked a suite with a king bed (all rooms at the hotel are nonsmoking) and I was impressed the moment I unlocked the door. This twenty-five by twenty-five foot box was segmented into three rooms: a walk-in living room/dining area, bathroom, and bedroom. This suite was bigger than my first apartment and four times as nice! There was a door allowing access to the adjacent room, which was well-locked and felt secure.
The thing that truly impressed me about the suite was that there was a beautiful doorway with windows and curtains that opened into the bedroom area. This immediately gave the suite a feeling of privacy without losing the feeling that the room was spacious. The bathroom was wonderfully large and easily fit two people moving around one another. The main room was huge and could easily have fit more people if we had chosen to.
The bathroom was perfectly clean and it was no surprise to me when it passed the first flush test. All of the linens were clean, dry and fluffy. Every surface in the bathroom was spotless, including the entire mirror, the bathtub and the toilet.
The bedroom was similarly clean, though the television screen was a little dusty. The bedding was all clean, well made up and comfortable. All of the rugs were spotless, which was nice and led to the air of no one else ever having been in the room (an ideal for me!). The room smelled like a nonsmoking room and if this ever had been anything other than that, they did an awesome job of cleaning it up to remove any previous scents!
The living room was in great condition, with important surfaces like the microwave, refrigerator and television all being free of dust, debris or food. The table and chairs in the room were clean as well. In fact, the only thing in the living room that was less than immaculate was the couch. The couch had a somewhat worn look to it, suggesting to us that it had been pretty well used. This was a little unsettling given how clean everything else was, but given the state of the rest of the room - and the plan to not stay in the room, save at the dining room table and bedroom - we let it slide.
This is where the Comfort Suites Downtown truly excelled. In addition to the usual organic shampoo, conditioner and lotion I've come to expect at the Comfort Suites, this had the standard coffee, coffee maker, microwave and refrigerator in the room. In addition, there were two televisions in the room, extra pillows in the closet (making a total of eight pillows in my suite!), dining table with four chairs, a couch, and endtable.
In the main lobby, there was coffee and donuts throughout the day, which was especially nice when I first checked in. Also in the main lobby there was a computer terminal with internet access for the patrons of the hotel. There was a TGI Friday's downstairs for food and drinks in the evening.
The breakfast dining room was also downstairs, near the lobby. Breakfast was from 6:30 - 9:30 in the morning, which I mention because for the first time in any of my stays I nearly missed it! Fortunately, they let me in to get breakfast. The spread was quite nice featuring the usual bagels, muffins, fresh fruit, three fruit juices and packaged cereals. There was hot cocoa, oatmeal packets and english muffins. There was the usual Choice Hotels waffle maker and the distinct element for this Comfort Suites: eggs. There was a hotplate of scrambled eggs available and they were nice and hot (even when the breakfast was technically over!). There was seating for at least twenty people in the breakfast room, making unlikely it would ever be crowded.
The Comfort Suites Downtown is a pretty wonderful place to get away to. It's a very comfortable escape from virtually everything (including Buffalo). This is ideal for a traveler or couple looking to get away and stay in as the room is nice and at $112.00 + tax (that's with the internet users rate, booked online), it pretty much encourages one to use the room! The nice thing is that with all the amenities, it's easy to stay in. I'll admit, as much as I enjoyed the room, the price tag for the location still seemed a little steep for me. I mean, the room was nice, but given its proximity to nothing else, the Comfort Suites Downtown seems to be a little overpriced.
Then again, I've never had a suite with a door to the bedroom before . . .
For other hotels in the Choice Hotels chain, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
Comfort Suites - Stratford, CT
Quality Inn & Suites Universal Studios - Orlando, FL
Comfort Inn Livonia - Livonia, MI
For other hotel reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!
© 2012, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.